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Microsoft Announces SQL Server 2012; Hadoop Distributions for Windows Server / Azure; Hadoop Connectors for SQL Server & PDW; Data Explorer

At the SQL PASS Summit on October 12, Microsoft’s Ted Kummert, CVP, Business Platform Division, confirmed that the codenamed SQL Server “Denali” will be officially named SQL Server 2012 when it ships in the first part of 2012.

Kummert described how SQL Server 2012, formerly code-named “Denali,” addresses the growing challenges of data and device proliferation by enabling customers to rapidly unlock and extend business insights, both in traditional datacenters and through public and private clouds.

“SQL Server 2012 delivers a powerful new set of capabilities for mission-critical workloads, business intelligence and hybrid IT across traditional datacenters and private and public clouds.”

SQL Server 2012“Features such as Power View (formerly Project “Crescent,”) and SQL Server Data Tools (formerly “Juneau”) expand the self-service BI capabilities delivered with PowerPivot, and provide an integrated development environment for SQL Server developers.”

The new ColumnStore Index delivers over 10x data warehouse performance gains. Due out in the first half of 2012, SQL Server 2012 is in the final production stages, with hundreds of customers going into production in CTP3, including Edgenet Inc., Sanofi Pasteur SA, Mediterranean Shipping Co. SA, Pilot Travel Centers LLC and Great Western Bank.

He also announced new investments to help customers manage “big data,” including an Apache Hadoop-based distribution for Windows Server and Windows Azure and a strategic partnership with Hortonworks Inc.

Microsoft is going to be working with Hadoop core contributors from Yahoo Hadoop spinoff Hortonworks. Microsoft and Hortonworks are readying a CTP test build of their Hadoop-based service for Windows Azure for delivery before the end of calendar 2011 and a CTP of the Hadoop-based distribution for Windows Server some time in 2012. The new stacks will work with Microsoft’s business-intelligence tools, including Excel, PowerPivot and PowerView (the new data-analysis technology that is part of SQL Server 2012 and was formerly known by its codename “Crescent”).

“The new addition of an Apache Hadoop-based distribution for Windows Azure and Windows Server is the next building block, seamlessly connecting all data sizes and types. Coupled with our new investments in mobile business intelligence, and the expansion of our data ecosystem, we are advancing data management in a whole new way,” said Kummert.

Microsoft is continuing to work on various alternatives to Java-based Hadoop and MapReduce and is “still committed” to these efforts, said Doug Leland, General Manager of Product Management in Microsoft’s Business Platform Marketing Group. Microsoft’s home-grown Hadoop competitor, aimed at .Net developers, is “Dryad” — or as it is currently known, LINQ to HPC. Microsoft Research also fielded earlier this year a technology preview of “an iterative MapReduce runtime for Windows Azure,” codenamed “Daytona,” that is meant to support data analytics and machine-learning algorithms which can scale to hundreds of server cores for analyzing distributed data.

Microsoft is working on “a simplified download, installation and configuration experience of several Hadoop related technologies, including HDFS, Hive, and Pig,” which he say “will help broaden the adoption of Hadoop in the enterprise.” And, that Microsoft is “investing in making Javascript a first class language for Big Data. We will do this by making it possible to write high performance Map/Reduce jobs using Javascript.”

Also, made available was the final versions of the Hadoop Connectors for SQL Server and Parallel Data Warehouse. “Customers can use these connectors to integrate Hadoop with their existing SQL Server environments to better manage data across all types and forms,” said Kummert.

You can download Microsoft SQL Server Connector for Apache Hadoop here.

SQL Azure LabsKummert also demonstrated Microsoft code-name “Data Explorer,” a prototype that provides a way for customers to easily discover, enrich and share data to gain competitive advantage in today’s business climate.

“When combined with Windows Azure MarketPlace, now available in 26 worldwide markets, Data Explorer will help customers realize their data’s full potential.”

Customers are encouraged to begin testing and to provide feedback when CTPs are made available in the SQL Azure Labs later this year at SQL Azure Labs.

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